A/N: The brothers just seem so broken and far apart at the end of ELAC. This is my take on those first steps back together. Please Review. Thank you everyone who takes the time to read and THANK YOU to everyone who takes the time to review! I really do appreciate it very much!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Supernatural, just stopping by to play.
Dean ignored him.
"Hey, Dean, Whatcha doing?" Sammy stuck his head under the hood of the car.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Fixing the car. What's wrong with it?"
Dean sighed and looked at his thirteen-year-old brother. For a smart kid he was unbelievably dumb when it came to anything mechanical. "I'm not fixing it, Sammy, I'm just working on it."
"So what's the difference?"
"Working on it means that I am just giving it a tune-up. New point and plugs, that kind of thing." He might have been speaking Greek for all the comprehension on his brother's face. "See these?" He held up a sparkplug and the points.
"Oh, yeah." Sammy said trying to sound like he actually understood.
Dean sighed again and grabbed for the wrench. It slipped off the block and through the engine, ending up on the ground under the car.
"I'll get it," Sammy said diving under the body. He handed the wrench back to Dean. "Can I help?"
"Uh, don't you have homework or something?"
"Nope, all done." He looked at Dean hopefully. "I could be a big help, you know. You could teach me all this stuff and I could help sometimes, you know." Even at thirteen Sammy still liked to be around his big brother as much as possible. He knew the older Winchester needed space sometimes, but he was lonely and being with Dean helped that.
Dean looked at his brother. Sammy had that hopeful puppy look on his face. The "can I play, please?" look. It was a look that someone a lot harder than Dean would find difficult to resist. "Ok, Sammy, but you have to do exactly as I tell you."
"Of course, Dean. I always do, you know that." Sammy said leaning into the engine compartment. "What's that?" He said pointing to the air filter cover, off to the side so Dean could work on the car.
"Air filter, Sammy. Can you hand me that socket?"
"The one right by your hand. It's for the sparkplugs, so I can get them out and put them back in. "
"Ok." Sammy solemnly handed him the wrench. It reminded Dean of the nurses on TV shows handing doctors surgical instruments. He smiled at his brother. "Thanks. After we get those in, and the points, you can help me replace rotor and distributor cap. How's that?"
"Great!" Sammy was enthusiastic. Dean didn't let him help with the car very much, his brother was a little overprotective of the Impala. So, Sammy knew that letting him help was a bit of a sacrifice for Dean. He paid attention and tried to remember everything Dean showed him as they worked. Later, when Dean let him clip the distributor cap on all by himself he was proud. His brother was letting him help for a change and it felt good.
Dean had been working on the car again for a week. He was leaving the trunk for last. Somehow he couldn't bring himself to look at the damage he had inflicted on her. He actually couldn't remember doing it. He remembered Sam's words, Sam walking away and then just anger and grief all mixed up with the urge to hurt something--anything. When the rage left him he found he was standing behind the Impala, looking at a hole he knew had had put in the trunk. Since then he had avoided that end of the car as much as possible.
So he worked on the engine. God, she was a mess, but slowly he was putting her back together. The activity kept him focused away from the pain, away from the words--his father's and Sam's--away from everything that had happened. He thought it might be helping, but then again, it might just be a little band-aid on a huge wound. He wasn't sure.
His brother had pretty much avoided him this last week. Oh, they talked briefly in the morning and evening, but Sam wasn't coming out to the yard to check on Dean. He wasn't coming out to ask how it went. He wasn't saying much. The kid was hurting, he had told Dean that, but Dean didn't want to talk about it. It wouldn't help anyway. So he worked on the car.
The problem was, of course, the repairs weren't going as well as he wanted them to. When something didn't go together exactly right the first time he would feel the anger and frustration welling up and would have to stop. If he dropped a tool, and couldn't snag it easily, the frustration would come again and he would have to stop. Stop and start, stop and start, something that felt almost like happiness when it went together well, anger and grief when something didn't go together quite right. On and on and on, some days, like today, it was almost too much to handle as he watched the wrench slide off the block, through the engine and onto the ground below the car. Damn. He stopped and put his head in his hands.
Sam was watching his brother from the edge of the yard. He often walked down two or three times during the day to check on Dean. He had learned to be quiet about it. If Dean knew what he was up to it would probably result in another fight of some kind. Dean needed space right now and he was doing his best to give it to him. Problem was he missed Dean.
He knew something was different in his brother, something since the accident. He wasn't sure if it was only their father's death weighing on Dean or if there was something more. It didn't matter. Something was different and it bothered Sam. Before the accident, before the final hunt with their father, he and Dean had recaptured the closeness of their youth, the closeness he had nearly destroyed when he left home. It meant more to Sam than he realized, the fact that they had been brothers again and now Dean was removed and distracted and unwilling to be close.
Sam was struggling to understand and give his brother the space he needed. He knew himself well enough to know he had a tendency to want to talk--to get it all out of himself before it overwhelmed him--and he knew Dean was just the opposite. And where Sam retained some of the trusting little brother "Dean can you make this better," his brother didn't have that and Sam was at a loss at how to help. So he watched Dean work on the car.
Sam was sitting on the tailgate of an old truck watching Dean when he saw a small puff of dust under the edge of the Impala. Dean must have dropped something. He saw his brother put his head in his hands, his shoulders sagging. It was too much for Sam, he slid off the tailgate and walked towards Dean.
Dean heard Sam walk up to the car. "I'll get that for you," Sam said. Dean looked up, Sam had reached under the car with his long arm and retrieved the wrench. "Here you go," he handed it back to Dean.
Sam stood beside him looking into the engine compartment. Sam was standing close to him--but not that close, Dean realized. Not too very long ago Sam probably would have made contact somehow, even just standing close enough so their shoulders touched. He and Sam had never really been big huggers, but they made contact. A playful slap, a nudge with a shoulder, a hand making contact, just standing close. The habits of a lifetime, reclaimed and then broken. Dean felt the difference, felt the space between them and sighed.
Sam was still standing there. "Is that the air filter?" He asked, tentative.
"Actually it's the air filter cover," Dean answered.
"And these? A sparkplug? The points and distributor cap?" Sam asked pointing at the objects in question.
Dean was suddenly transported back to a day when Sam had been thirteen, one of the few times he had let him--and Sam had asked to--work on the car. Dean smiled at the memory. "Yeah, Sammy, you remember." Dean hesitated, unsure.
"Yeah," Sam stood there, uncertainly. Dean sensed it, he was a little uncertain, too.
"Sam?" He felt Sam brace himself for what Dean would say next, probably thinking he was going to tell his brother to go away. Dean took a deep breath. "Can you hand me that socket?"
Sam smiled. "Which one Dean?"
"The one over there," he said pointing, Sam handed it to him. "After that maybe you can help see if she's ready for the distributor. How's that?"
"Sure, Dean." Sam said. "That sounds great."
They bent over the engine, Dean carefully explaining what needed to be done, Sam solemnly handing him the tools and the parts. Sam smiled. It was hesitant, it was tentative, but his brother was letting him help for a change and it felt good.